Liquid immersion cooling is rapidly becoming the mechanism of choice for the newest generation of supercomputers. Miniaturization at both the chip and module level places a severe constraint on the size of the heat sink employed to dissipate the high heat fluxes generated. A study was conducted to develop a surface that could augment boiling heat transfer from silicon surfaces under these constraints. The surface created consists of reversed pyramidal features etched directly on to the silicon surface. Experiments were conducted in a saturated pool of refrigerant-113 at atmospheric pressure. The inexpensive crystallographic etching techniques used to create the enhanced features are described in the paper. The main characteristics of interest in the present study were the incipient boiling superheat and the magnitude of the temperature overshoot at boiling incipience. Results were obtained for test sections with various cavity densities, and compared with data for the smooth untreated surface. It was found that incipient boiling superheat was reduced from a range of 27.0–53.0° C for the untreated silicon surface, to a range of 2.5–15.0° C for the enhanced surfaces. The overshoot also decreased considerably; from about 12.0–18.0° C for two classes of untreated surfaces, to a range of 1.5–5.3° C for the enhanced surfaces. The values of the incipient boiling superheat, and those of the overshoot decreased with a decrease in cavity mouth size. Two ratios of heat source surface area to the area of the enhanced surface were studied. The overshoot values obtained for these surfaces were compared with those observed for some commonly used enhanced surfaces. An elementary numerical study was conducted to estimate the magnitude of heat spreading.

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